Down Memory Lane: NL MoD Websites 1996-2016 (Netherlands MoD): one of my favorite websites. Just like its predecessors, the last version introduced in February 2014, is a clear and crisp piece of information. In 1996 the NL MoD was the first of all fifteen national ministries to present itself on the world wide web. ‘The ‘Wayback Machine’ – developed by San Francisco based – takes you back in time, for instance to this original 1996 ice-age website, with most functions still operational!

Four years later this ‘first generation’ NL MoD website was renewed, with (measured by Dutch standards) a revolutionary look-and-feel and very much up-to-date interactive information. Call me sentimental, but I think I was very lucky to be among those who started these first and second generation websites by consulting, contributing content etc. And, mind you, in an almost desperate effort to convince skeptical management of the benefits of a professional MoD website. Confronted by remarks comparing the internet with information as offered by Ceefax…..

In short: the first generation started as a digital standard business card (preferred browser: good old Netscape 2.0), along the way (second generation) promoted in an effort to become a serious source of information for press and public. With lots of unnecessary bells and whistles. Little interactivity, content and look-and-feel mainly inspired by technological possibilities, But (anno 2016) grown into a full-blown channel of communication, part of professional cross-channel information.

Recognize this process of growing-up for first generation websites? Want to know more about first generation websites in general? Want to see the 1996/2000 NL MoD sites yourself, with some functions still operational? Or any other ‘outdated’ site? Visit This San Francisco based Internet Archive is a nonprofit digital library with 464 billion web pages saved. Still counting, so please donate. And for more information about, please read on…..



December 20th 1996, first version, an ‘experimental project’ (“Deze internet-pagina’s, een proefproject van het ministerie van Defensie…”). In 1999 no longer experimental, but changed into a ‘serious’ project’; site first used as point-of-information for press.



November 29th 1999, presentation/press-conference ‘Defensienota 2000’: and a completely renewed website…. URL no longer just ‘’ but also ‘’. Including the possibility of responding to vacancies. Main color purple (paars), symbolic for the ongoing cooperation-process (‘joint’) between Navy, Army, Air Force and Royal Constabulary.




Well done! Great look-and-feel. Lots of videos. Easy to navigate, professional search-engine. One minor point of criticism: the slogan at the bottom of the homepage (‘Defensie beschermt wat ons dierbaar is’; ‘The MoD protects what’s dear to us’) seems like a quote out of the King James Bible. Bit over the top. Suggestion: To Protect and Serve. Or even better: May The Force Be With You 😉 P.H.

site2016-1 site2016-2


Defensie beschermt wat ons dierbaar is.



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17 maart 2016

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